Last month, I had the incredible honor of hosting a studio visit from three amazing women who have inspired me for years. On a beautiful summer day, Rosanne Cash, Gael Towey, and Maira Kalman arrived in Florence for a two day sewing workshop and adventure. The idea for the trip was hatched on a spring afternoon in New York City and I can hardly believe that it actually happened. With incredibly busy schedules, these three women cleared their calendars, bought their tickets, organized their lives, picked up their daughters, and headed south.  Gael Towey (an incredible woman who has shaped the look of modern life as we know it) wrote about their Alabama adventure for Martha Stewart’s “Up Close and Personal Blog”. I spent an amazing afternoon with Gael talking about all things design and inspiration… that post will be coming in the next weeks.

Magpie + RUTH, my son Zach’s catering company, made a fantastic lunch for us each day. The bread pudding recipe below was a favorite with the entire crew, our Alabama Chanin team, and the photo above a favorite with our Facebook followers.

Bon Appetit,


For bread pudding:

2 quarts of day old bread, cut into cubes
10 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp bourbon

For topping:

1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp white sugar

Fill a 9” x 13” greased pan with cubed bread. Pour in egg, milk, bourbon, cinnamon, and vanilla mixture until it comes to the top, but doesn’t fully cover bread.

Dust top with cinnamon and sugar topping before baking.

Cover with foil and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes uncovered.

For the sauce:

Make a basic caramel sauce.

Peel and cut three peaches. Cook over low heat until peaches are tender. Puree cooked peaches.

Add peach puree to the basic caramel sauce until you have the desired flavor.

Reduce one cup of bourbon in a saucepan over low heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.

Add the bourbon and sugar mixture to caramel and peach sauce.

Plate the bread pudding, cover with sauce, and top with buttermilk ice cream.


1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoons vanilla
Salt to taste

Combine the heavy cream and one cup of sugar in a saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar together.

Remove the cream and sugar mixture from heat and cool slightly. Slowly whisk cooled cream and sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly until incorporated.

Cook this mixture over low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Cool completely and freeze.



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Click to read 2 comments
  1. amisha

    This sounds wonderful, and I am looking forward to trying it with the beautiful peaches that are available right now. I have one question about the bread quantities, as I’m having trouble visualizing a quart of bread– would the bread requirement be something like 2 loaves?

    Looking forward to hearing about your conversation with Gael, too. I really enjoyed her blog post– it reminded me of the incredible joy and inspiration I felt entering the AC studio, and the way that that creative energy has sustained and inspired me since then. What y’all do is magic.

    1. Arlene Wanetick

      Wow, what a powerhouse quartet of women! How fantastic. And oh yeah, the bread pudding has me swooning. Glad to hear a great time was had by all!